Ladakh is the crown of India and a favourite spot that tempts travellers from India and the world. It is a place that shall always have a special place in every traveller’s heart. Its scenic beauty, vibrant festivals, passes and peaks, make it the perfect travel destination. Besides the beauty of the landscape, there is something more that adds to the beauty of Ladakh and that is an abode of the ancient Buddhist monasteries and gompas. These Gompas are absolutely a haven for those looking forward to a rejuvenating and peaceful vacation. These charming Gompas are one of the best & popular places to visit in Ladakh. Stok Palace, our hotel in Ladakh also has its very own Stok Gompa.
Although all the monasteries are worth visiting here are a few must-visit Gompas in Ladakh to make your next Ladakh trip filled with peace.
Diskit or Deskit Gompa is the oldest and largest Buddhist monastery in the Nubra Valley of Ladakh. Founded by Changzem Tserab Zangpo, a disciple of Tsong Khapa, founder of Gelugpa, in the 14th century, the monastery belongs to the Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. It is a sub-gompa of the Thikse gompa. There is a statue of Cho Rinpoche (Crowned Buddha) in the prayer hall, a huge drum and several images of fierce guardian deities. An elevated cupola of the monastery depicts a fresco of the Tashilhunpo Monastery of Tibet.
The monastery also runs a school where science and computers are taught in English to Tibetan children of the region, with the support from an NGO called the “Tibet Support Group”.
A popular festival known as Dosmoche or the “Festival of the Scapegoat” is held in the premises of the monastery in February during the winter season, which is largely attended by people from villages of the Nubra Valley since the other regions in Leh are inaccessible during this period due to heavy snowfall.
Likir Gompa is a Buddhist monastery in Ladakh located at 3700m elevation, approximately 52 kilometres in the west of Leh. Situated on a beautiful little hill in the valley, in Likir village near the Indus River. The monastery belongs to the Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism and was established in 1065 by Lama Duwang Chosje, under the command of the fifth king of Ladakh, Lhachen Gyalpo (Lha-Chen-Rgyal-Po).
Likir is a relatively isolated gompa now, but it was once on a trade route that travelled via Tingmosgang, Hemis and Likir to Leh. The gompa has approximately 120 Buddhist monks and a school with almost thirty students. The Central Institute of Buddhist Studies runs it and teaches in three languages, Hindi, Sanskrit and English.
Spituk Gompa or Pethup Gompa, is a monastery in Spituk, Leh, Ladakh located just 8 kilometres from Leh. The site of Spituk was blessed by the Arhat Nyimagung. It was founded by Od-de, the elder brother of Lha Lama Changchub Od. When Lotsewa Rinchen Zangpo (Translator) came to that place he said that an exemplary religious community would arise there and so the monastery was called Spituk which means exemplary. During the time of Dharma raja Gragspa Bum-Ide the monastery was restored by Lama Lhawang Lodos and the stainless order of Tsongkhapa was introduced and it has remained intact as such till present. Founded as a Red Hat institution, the monastery was taken over by the Yellow Hat sect later in the 15th century.
The monastery contains 100 monks and a giant statue of Kali which was unveiled during the annual festival.
All the monasteries in the Leh District can be visited while staying at the Stok Palace, our hotel in Ladakh.